Mel Brooks Finally Opens Up About Depression, Anne Bancroft

Mel Brooks

Mel Brooks has become the new Betty White

Mel Brooks remembers being trapped in “an emotional pit” for more than a year after the death of his wife, Anne Bancroft, in 2005.

“It took a lot out of me,” he told me in a recent interview for the New York Post.  “I couldn’t move.”

The legendary writer and producer of movies like “Blazing Saddles” and “Young Frankenstein” was married to the actress for 41 years before she lost her battle with uterine cancer.

“The one, I think, who got me out of my depression was my grandson,” Brooks admits.  “He just turned 8.  He was always interested in seeing ‘Toy Story’ or doing something together.

“I see him almost every night.  I am lucky.  He likes me.”

So do generations of comedy fans.

Brooks, born and raised in Brooklyn, is one of the rare entertainers to earn an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award.

He’s been featured in two recent HBO specials and was given his own satellite radio channel earlier this month.

His career — which spans more than six decades — gets the retrospective treatment in the latest installment of “American Masters,” premiering this month on PBS.

“Now when my grandchildren have grandchildren, they can watch it and say, ‘your great-great grandfather was really good looking,’” he says.

“Hopefully they will only be a little ashamed and very proud.”

At 86, Brooks also appears to be embracing his new, single life.

“I’m not really interested in dating,” he admits.  “I haven’t run into anybody that has taken my fancy.”

His most important relationship, outside of family, is with best friend and fellow producer Carl Reiner.

The pair meet up for dinner several times a week, Brooks says.  “He’s lost his wife.  I lost my wife.  So we are together. We are pals.”

Brooks also enjoys spending time at the race track, eating scrambled eggs and betting on horses, or relaxing at home with an episode of “Girls.”

And he hasn’t given up on getting back to work.

“I wouldn’t mind writing and directing another movie,” he says.  “I could still do it.  I get up and walk a half hour every morning.  I drive everywhere.  I am still capable.  I think I have another movie in me.”

The most obvious choice, he says:  “Mel Brooks’ History of The World: Part 2.”

“It is a natural.  I know I would get a crowd for the first weekend.  People would be very interested.  I would probably get very bad reviews.  But I can handle that now.”

Sean Daly

Sean Daly

Editor-In-Chief at
Sean Daly is a veteran entertainment journalist.His work has appeared in People, Us Weekly, The Toronto Star and other top publications. He was the west coast TV reporter for The New York Post from 2008 - 2013. Sean is the author of Inside AGT: The Untold Stories of America's Got Talent and Teen Mom Confidential: Secrets and Scandals From MTV's Most Controversial Shows.
Sean Daly